Ask the guys who created a display in Glen Rock. They have put together four large working layouts of different size scale model trains to benefit the Glen Rock Hose and Ladder Company.
The idea was hatched by model railroaders Joe Schmidt and Charlie Klinefelter who talked about displays set up by fire companies in Baltimore and other cities.
Gene Anstine, Randy Smith and Chet Wagner and others jumped on board and their first display opened in 1990, a display in a former bowling alley.
Soon others like Dave Snyder of Hanover, Sid Krebs of Codorus Township, and Kirk Slenker of York Township added smaller and larger trains to the mix.
There are four working layouts in HO, S, O and G gauge, meaning they range in size from some of the smallest to some of the largest model trains available.
Dana Shearer of Yoe had a small train set when he was a boy, but it was his uncle who really sparked his interest in model trains.
When he returned home after serving in the military he quickly signed on with the group. His choice is the O gauge trains.
“They are a better fit for me with my big fingers. The HO is just a little small for me, but Sid and those guys do a great job and have a lot of patience, working on those small cars and buildings, often using tweezers,” he said.
While these men share a common interest and a sense of camaraderie, they are willing to share their hobby with younger people who might someday take over.
“My nephew Korbin Shearer is interested but he is a student at Millersville and doesn't have a lot of time. It is hard to get people to commit but we are all committed to keeping this going and we are grateful to the borough for giving us the space,” Shearer said.
After a few years at the original location, the dis´ play moved to the Neuhaus Building, a former feed and implement store, which is owned by the borough and also houses the Arthur Hufnagel Public Library.
Fire Chief Gene Anstine of Shrewsbury Township got hooked on trains early on and never lost his love for what these guys call “the Big Boy Toys.”
“When I was a kid I found my Dad's trains in my grandma's house,” he said.
School chums, Sid Krebs and Dave Snyder, were about 10 years old when they got their first HO trains. They work with others on the HO display, with the smallest trains in the display.
While these smaller trains were once ahead of some of the larger trains, those such as the H and O gauge sets have caught up, with engines that come equipped with mini computers to allow the larger trains to keep pace with their smaller siblings and a variety of buildings and other accessories built to
scale, Shearer said.
Kirk Slenker, who got his first train when he was five years old, goes for trains in a big way with his G gauge or garden trains.
“These are bigger trains, most often found in a garden setting. There are a number of people in York County who have them,” he said.
His display is surrounded by live plants and running water and changes from year to year.